Ithaca Blog

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Hydrofrackers Dump Toxic Water in Cayuga Lake, Says NY Times

The NY Times reports today that companies drilling for gas in Pennsylvania are knowingly and systematically dumping toxic wastewater into sources of drinking water, including Cayuga Lake.

Documentation shows that the wastewater, from the drilling process called hydrofracking, contains levels of radiation and carcinogens which cannot be successfully treated.

The levels are hundreds of times above standards considered safe.

The wastewater - essentially untreated - is dumped into public water, unfettered by regulation.

With lobbying money, gas companies have evaded regulation by the Environmental Protection Agency. Special clauses in federal regulations exempt the gas companies from disclosing the chemicals they use in hydrofracking.

The Times reports that a company in the southern tier of New York, near the Pennsylvania border, is dumping hydrofracking wastewater into the southern portion of Cayuga Lake, a source of drinking water in Ithaca.

The toxic waste is also being dumped into rivers serving Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and hundreds of other communities. The population affected totals over a million.

At least three of the highest-ranking state officials in Pennsylvania with responsibility for overseeing gas company activities there have left the government for jobs with the gas companies.

The population affected has been served this week, by corporate journalists, with news about Charlie Sheen.

Here in Ithaca, there has been no notice of these issues by local media; but citizen groups have been laudibly active in spreading information. Two of the foremost are Toxics Targeting, and Shaleshock. They are readily available on the Internet and in person, and can certainly use your help.

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Friday, February 25, 2011

Trivia Quiz: Win $10 From Small World Music/Angry Mom Records

What is the only pop song ever to include the word "inquisitive" in its lyrics?

Be the first, second, or third to give us the answer (mulitple winners!) and win a $10 gift certificate to Small World Music/Angry Mom Records, in the basement of Autumn Leaves Books on the Commons.

The question arose at the music party, with talented, hip DJ's, that Angry Mom ran at Silky Jones on the Commons last Sunday.

There were multiple DJ's stacking wax, and the question came up, what songs are guaranteed party-starters?

We were not spinning, but had an opinion. We named the song in question. We said, not only is it stirring, to your very soul, but it uses the word "inquisitive." And it is the second word in the song. Beat that.

We mean, James Brown, for example, has many party-starting songs, but probably none including a four-syllable adjective, at least not one not starting with the letter "m." (And that particular word, now that we think of it, is probably not technically an adjective, but a present participle.)

We'll give you two hints. One is probably obvious: it is a soul song. Hint #2: it charted in 1967.

And, extra bonus, if you can tell us a different song employing the word "inquisitive," we will give you an $11 gift certificate.

Send your reply (we are ready for the deluge) to us here via Ithaca Blog; or e-mail us personally at

Stephen P. Burke
for Small World Music & Ithaca NY Blog

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Anti-Frackers, Meet Gov. Cuomo in Binghamton, 2/24

Late notice, but we just saw a call for a rally from people fighting unnatural drilling for natural gas in New York, when Governor Cuomo comes to Binghamton on Thursday 24 Feb.

The news came to us from Cuomo comes to Binghamton tomorrow, we know not why, exactly. But anti-fracking activists want to make a scene while he is here, in the New York epicenter of the likely calamity of fracking, and ask him to do specific things, and perhaps take a general stand.

We posted here on Ithaca Blog on 22 August 2010 about a visit by then-candidate Cuomo to Binghamton where he would answer no questions about fracking. No more for that.

Andrew was daunted then by a big turnout of mouthy Ithacans and a repeat of that, let's say a furtherance, would be fine.

Toxics Targeting reports that Mr. Cuomo will be at the Riverwalk Hotel, 225 Water Street in Binghamton; they are calling for citizens to gather before 10:30 a.m.

If you can't go, as we can't, maybe send a tidy check, as we will, to the Shaleshock organization, a grassroots group that is quite potent in the movement, and of course could use your help. Their address is 115 The Commons. You can visit them there, too, and get personally involved. Remember: this land is your land. And the water is all of ours, and not for the Halliburton corporation, and other scheming frackers, to defile.

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Sunday, February 20, 2011

More Fun, Sunday Night, Feb. 20

The Commons will barely be cleared of Chili Fest fun by the time more starts, when Angry Mom Records hosts an all-vinyl music party at Silky Jones, on the east end of the Commons.

The event promises "the best music you ever heard/the best music you never heard." There will be multiple DJs, including some from the Angry Mom staff.

It starts at 8 p.m. and goes until last call.

For more details, check out Angry Mom Records on Facebook.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Beautiful Day for Chili, Sunday 20 Feb.

We have gotten a lot of hits on Ithaca Blog this morning via the search for "Chili Cook-Off."

Yes, the Chili Cook-Off is happening. The weather is beyond benign, and the Commons is packed.

The karaoke machine is spinning. The cushions around the mechanical bull are inflated. People are dressed up like it's a ski resort, except the equipment is spoons, not skis.

Don't forget the free offer from Small World Music/Angry Mom Records, as posted here on Ithaca Blog on Tuesday 15 February.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Saturday, February 19, 2011

One-Day Delay on Chili Cook-Off: (Very) Late-Breaking News

We just got very late-breaking news that the Chili Cook-Off on Saturday 19 Feb. has been moved to the following day, because of bad weather.

The news comes to us from the event's volunteer co-ordinator, who got it from the event's main co-ordinator.

We asked for a double-check, before posting this announcement; and got that confirmation.

We asked for the confirmation because we thought, isn't bad weather always possibly part of the deal, for a February event?

But the concern tonight is that there will be no power tomorrow, with high winds that will likely last.

See our past couple of postings for details about a free offer at Angry Mom Records/Small World Music to people attending the event. That offer now will hold for both Saturday and Sunday.

Steve Burke
for Small World Music/Angry Mom Records/ Ithaca NY Blog

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Something Free For You on Chili Cook-Off Day

The Chili Cook-Off Festival comes to the Commons this Saturday, 19 February, and we have something free for you that day at Small World Music/Angry Mom Records, on the Commons, in the basement of Autumn Leaves Books.

(We are Small World Music and Ithaca Blog, both.)

On Saturday, simply mention this offer, and select for yourself a free CD from our bargain shelves of CDs for $3 and less.

We have many hundreds, so you are bound to find something you know you will like; or don't know you will like; but it's free, so you can't lose. Right?

No purchase is necessary. When we say free, we mean free, doggone it. We hope to see you.

Steve Burke
for SWM & /IBlog

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Small World Music, On the Commons

We see today on Facebook that even some of our FB Friends don't know that Small World Music (our store) has moved: to the basement of Autumn Leaves Books on the Commons, cohabiting there with Angry Mom Records.

Angry Mom has the LPs. Small World Music has the CDs.

Including Richie Stearns's new one, which was how this came up on FBook, someone looking for a store to buy it from. We got it.

And we got lots more Local music, plus International, Americana, Jazz, Blues, Rock/Pop, etc.

New releases featured at the moment include Decemberists, Drive-By Truckers, Iron and Wine, Wanda Jackson, Richard Thompson, James Blunt, Bright Eyes, and Social Distortion.

Angry Mom/Small World opens at noon, 7 days a week.

Steve Burke
for Small World Music and Ithaca NY Blog

Friday, February 11, 2011

In Egypt, the Power of the Square

We talked briefly today with our friend Clare Grady, the often-jailed peace activist, about Egypt. She said she is thinking about "the power of the Square," as in Tahrir Square, where people are staying and demonstrating in massive numbers.

"Tiananmen Square, now Tahrir Square. There's great power when people unite physically.

"The media and the Internet are okay for communication and planning. But nothing works the way actually gathering does."

I said I never thought about it, but it seems true. "It lets people in power see you," I said. "And scares them."

Clare said, "It also lets you see each other, and builds your resolve."

Clare said she is ruminating on a gathering here in Ithaca - on the Commons, maybe. Demonstrations across the U.S. might be helpful in influencing our government.

We will be sure to let you know if Clare, or anyone else, organizes something here.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

It's A Good Night Not To Like Football

It's a good night not to like football, if you prefer the idea of lots of room outside. The Super Bowl is on tonight, and you can probably ski down main street during it.

You know, famously, Jewish people go to Chinese restaurants on Christmas. They are two groups that do not generally care that much about Christmas. So, maybe tonight, outdoor enthusiasts could all meet, get together, right downtown, anywhere they want.

You might want to check with restaurants first, tonight, though. It may be that any restaurant without a TV in the bar doesn't open tonight, for anticipated lack of interest. We hear that Maxie's is closed, for instance.

have fun -
Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

On Egypt: The President and Secretary of State Look Tired

Obama and Rodham-Clinton look tired lately - maybe even soul-sick, with the hypocrisy they have to perpetuate, or think they have to, in Egypt.

The revolution in Egypt is right. But our government won't outright support it, because of money. Not just money, but dirty money.

"Democracy Now!" on the web presents clear details about the billions of "foreign aid" cash we send Egypt, with the firm understanding that they will send back most of it for weapons. They get to keep some of the cash, for their effort. But primarily it is gigantic money-laundering for Lockheed-Martin, Boeing, and others.

Our government supports the Egyptian regime because they follow instructions: take this massive money, from U.S. taxpayers, and give it to U.S. corporations, for obscene and wasteful weaponry.

Of course, we do it with a slew of countries, but Egypt has been one of the biggest and best flunkies for a while.

The scheme is the ultimate in corporate welfare and pocket-lining.

The Democratic and Republican organizations get their cut of it, naturally, or it wouldn't happen, as it is quite immoral, and should be illegal. But like many big crimes, when powerful parties get paid, it thrives.

The problem in Egypt, as far as U.S. powers are concerned, is that maybe someone new in charge won't be as reliably venal.

Obama and Rodham-Clinton, certainly, are smart enough to understand all this. They are pretty smart people. Likely, on some level, they despise the works. But they don't lead; they follow. They have to - or, again, think they do. Let them stand up against the venality, and see what happens to their coffers, and those of their colleagues.

Bernie Sanders (Senator from Vermont), for one example, would do the right thing in this situation, if it were in his power. Sanders is an independent, de jure and de facto. He is not motivated by massive money, and disdains any that is dirty. His campaign financing comes from the citizens he represents. Pretty much all others at the highest level of U.S. government are cogs. Not even by necessity, but by choice, for easy money. Nothing personal, but, you know. It is so obvious it is barely an observation.

Once, O. and R-C were well-meaning and progressive. At their best and deepest levels, they probably still are. But in the corrupt terrain of the criminal rich, they fail the public good - sometimes at catastrophic levels, like now.

Here's the thing about social justice movements: when executed well and massively, they help smart, good people act so.

That's why we must act, meet, demonstrate, vote - those of us interested in peace, justice, fairness.

In a history-making way, this is what the people of Egypt are doing, right now. Do what you can for them, and then maybe our people in power will find the strength to do so, too. And let's then see what we can do to spread this sense and wellness.

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog